Lake Louise is a gorgeous must-see in the Banff area. A lot of people come to the lake to see it’s blue milky beauty – a result of runoff water from glaciers. There are a lot of easy hikes in the area that are quick in-and-outs and you get the full flavor of the lake. For instance, here’s the view from the Fairmont Lookout, a short hike up the left side of the lake:
Trust me, I felt content here. I felt like I could stay in these woods with this view forever! But there is so much more to Banff and to Lake Louise. It is so so worth it to get up early and take this 26+km hike.
Hike to the Tea House
When you get to the Fairmont, you get a spectacular view of Lake Louise.
You walk along the right side (facing the glacier) to begin up the mountain to the Tea House. It doesn’t take too long before you get the opposite view as above. It looks like you’re at the base of the glaciers looking out.
You are, of course, quite far from the glaciers! But the trip up to it is so worth it. At first, you walk along a paved path until you hit a walkway of sorts:
The walk along this is just to get over the edge of the lake until you’re finally in the woods in Banff. You start up switchbacks that are numerous but generously wide. You might need a break, but it’s really not too bad. And if you go early, you’re alone on the trail! Banff fills up quickly.
After around 4km, and much uphill walking, you do finally get to the Tea House. The Tea House is this adorable place with an adorable dog out front (zoom in, I swear!). They don’t get a lot of shipments up there, but they make a mean tea and scone.
There’s also a bathroom here, but use it with caution. When we were there, it was one of the stinkiest places I had ever been in my life.
There are a lot of glaciers in Alberta and in Banff, specifically. You don’t want to miss these ones by turning back at the Tea House! From the Tea House, you walk just another 4-5km (not too far) to get to the glaciers. It was incredible when we were there. We sat on the side of the mountain listening to the boom crack of avalanches. We explored the area as well and fell in love.
But as everything good must come to an end, we eventually got back on the trail. Rather than head back down the way we came, we decided to climb up to the Beehive.
The Beehive is a part of the mountain that is covered with larch trees and juts out. It’s a stiff climb up, but the view along the way is spectacular.
Once you finally get there, there’s plenty space to take a rest. You could even lunch here no problem. You have a nice lookout over Lake Louise AND Lake Agnes.
Take this in. It is so gorgeous up here. You don’t want to leave. But at some point you told yourself you were going to make it to Lake Agnes, so keep going! More beauty awaits.
Lake Agnes is smaller and perhaps less beautiful than Lake Louise, but it is the kind of emerald green that sticks with you for a long time. It’s serene, calm. Surrounded by loose rocks. We had a blast hanging out on Lake Agnes’ shores.
You’ll see more glaciers here, too. This place is so peaceful and awe-inspiring.
Once you get to the other end of Lake Agnes, there are picnic tables where you can take a load off. From here, you can see the Beehive in all its spectacular glory. I assume in high Fall the larch trees are all golden yellow and it truly looks like a beehive.
Now you may wonder, if we went in by Lake Louise and came out at Lake Agnes, how do we get back to our vehicle? Great question! Hitchhike! JUST KIDDING. No, but some people do all around Banff. We just walked back to our car like chumps. I tell you, we were TIRED. But we went to the Fairmont and had ourselves a drink to finish off the day.
If you’d like to know what else we did in Banff, read on here!
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